It has been a fairly quiet week with time for a period of recovery following the festivities. The holiday was fantastic and it is now time to kick on and think about this coming weekend and the next at Cheltenham.
Over the coming few weeks I will be mentioning a few ante-post bets. I am not a great fan of these but they do raise the excitement and you only want one to come in and the sense of satisfaction is worth more than the monetary reward so watch this space.
This weekend looks a stormer as not only do we have excellent racing at Ascot & Haydock, we have Taunton’s one and only Saturday race meeting of the season including the inaugural running of the £50,000 Portman Cup. On looking through the entries of the race I had a major stress attack, you know the type, tingling fingers, perspiration of the forehead and a feeling of how am I going to cope with this. Yes it was fair to say a trip to the doctors was required because I felt my blood pressure needed checking. He was excellent and all the usual questions were asked involving diet, exercise and alcohol consumption and then the all-important question – Is there anything you are worried about?
”Too damn right” was my reply – Thomas Patrick is entered in the Portman Cup on Saturday”
The doctor looked a little bemused and replied “OK, well that’s fine, people sometimes have to do things that push themselves, it’s a bit like jumping out of an aeroplane, I am sure he is well prepared, may I ask how closely related you are ?” “Well he’s not that closely related Doctor, I am sure he has been well prepared, as his trainer Tom Lacey would have made sure of this and he certainly has the ability, but it’s just that the last time he did something like this he was rubbish and I just want him to do it better this time”
The Doctor was as politically correct as expected “ Martin, he can only do his best, not everyone can be great but they usually find their right level in life and I am sure Thomas will do this”
“Thank You Doctor” was my reply and I left walking down the corridor thinking shall I back the horse this Saturday? and how I am going to explain myself when he finds out Thomas Patrick is a horse and not a person! I think I am actually more stressed than before I went. My opinion is that class is permanent so I am continuing my support of him and will get involved, he needs to jump better than last time though.
It’s look like being a tense day as the Taunton Racing Club horse At It’s Own Expense is likely to make his hurdles debut in front of his admiring owners as well. He has been schooling very well at home so fingers crossed for a promising run.
Others of note this weekend are Praeceps who will hopefully run in the Juvenile Hurdle at Ascot. His trainer, Alan King, has high hopes for this horse and it will be a stepping stone to a bigger pot at Sandown at the end of the season. We then head north to Haydock and I am hoping it stays dry as I think Captain Redbeard has a great chance in The Peter Marsh, he was second in the race last year off exactly the same handicap mark and his form figures at Haydock read 312123. He is currently 14/1 and I think one or two at the head of the market will not turn up and that could be a big price on the day.
Next, one for our Horses To Follow list…Arthur’s Reuben. He won a Handicap Chase at Huntingdon recently following wind surgery and they usually improve again for the second run, so let’s hop on board the bus for the ride, he will hopefully run in the next couple of weeks.
STOP PRESS..This weekend’s bets are above, so keep your money in your pocket on this occasion and make sure you are watching Ascot at 3.35 on Saturday. It is very likely that Altior will be plying his trade, enjoy the spectacle as he his rapidly turning into one of the all-time greats.